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323 - Lectures 1-3: Intro to IR Theory
Transcript of 323 - Lectures 1-3: Intro to IR Theory
and the Environment
Shannon Gibson, Ph.D.
a distinct academic paradigm
the study of state and non-state actors
closely related to Political Science and Global Studies
What is International Relations?
What are the political/economic causes of environmental change?
What accounts for the rise in public concern and increasing importance of environmental issues on the global agenda?
What constitutes global environmental governance? What explains its emergence, evolution?
Is global environmental governance effective? How well can nations cooperate to address shared environmental problems?
What questions would IR ask about environmental issues/
Conflict can be avoided
Prospects for cooperation and harmony of interests
has a long history
has an evolutionary history
OMG. THEORY? Whatevs.
Explaining (how the macro world is)
Understanding (how micro world works)
Predictive (what will happen)
Normative (how the world ought to be)
"Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play."
States always act in their own self-interest
The state of anarchy predicts prevalence of conflict
Key Terms / Assumptions
Harmony of interests
IR had long ignored issues of environmental sustainability....and in some cases, still does today.
Political realities are constructed through social interactions
Ideas, more than interests or institutions, guide state behavior
Marxism / Neo-Marxism
Mode of Production
The economy, not anarchy, predicts state behavior
The world is based on inequality and class struggle
Socialist approaches & redistritubion of wealth and power are preferable
Critical "Green" Theory
Case Study: Eco-Feminism
of International Relations
notions assumed as value-neutral by other perspectives (i.e., state, anarchy, capitalism)
argues that these concepts actually do harm (structural violence)
speaks for those with no voice
"speak truth to power"
domestic counter culture movements
anti-capitalist & communist
sees fault in global institutions
scale shift around states to target WTO, IMF, WB, UNFCCC, etc.
linking Feminism & Ecology
women and nature united by their shared oppression
both are simultaneously repressed and exploited by oppressive structures
Goal is to point out inequalities, describe how they came to be, and fix them
So what can IR maybe tell us about Global Environmental Politics?
explains the MANY conflicts
explains increasing cooperation and institutionalization
explains the normative shifts and change
explain inequalities and growing dissent